Aeroprakt A32 crosswind at Tyabb

Crosswind at TyabbYesterday there was a fairly strong and gusty crosswind on Tyabb’s 35/17 runway. The crosswind was made even more tricky as the wind was blowing from the north west over the hills and trees near the airfield, making for very uneven and turbulent conditions.

Quite by chance, Mike Rudd, our video producer, was there trying out a new video camera, capturing a couple of aircraft landing – but due to the conditions, there weren’t many up and about in the skies! However, my colleague Ido Segev was flying an A32 Vixxen demonstration with a prospective owner. (Thanks to Stuart for the loan of his aircraft).

This very short video (click the photo or here to view on YouTube) first shows a landing by a Beech Travelair twin, piloted as it turns out, by Roger Merridew, a very experienced pilot and owner of Lilydale Airfield. He is followed closely by Ido and his passenger (who was sitting in the left seat) in the A32 Vixxen.

It’s interesting to note the different techniques used to land each aircraft in what was a 12-15 knot gusting crosswind. In many ways, as you can see, the A32 Vixxen handles the conditions better than the Travelair. The secret to making a successful crosswind landing in the A32 Vixxen is speed management and the minimal use of flap. The aircraft was down safely and exited at the first cross-taxiway, about 70-75 metres from the threshold of runway 35.

Good demonstration Ido!

PS – the prospective customer placed an order after the flight!

Aeroprakt’s 1,000th aircraft!

A22LS #1000Congratulations to Aeroprakt on the production and registration of their 1,000th aircraft! This is a great accomplishment for them and Foxbat Australia is proud to have been a part of Aeroprakt’s success. Well done everyone at Aeroprakt and here’s to the next 1,000!

The 1,000th aircraft is a yellow (is there any other colour?) A22LS, which is now in service at Aeroprakt’s flying club/school based at Naliwaikowka Airfield near Kiev. Over half of the aircraft produced have been the 450kgs gross weight A22, A22L and A22L2 models, followed by the Light Sport A22LS. The recently launched A32 ‘Vixxen’ has already reached 55 production units with yet more on order.

Alas – only six of the much desired twin engine A36 have been built. Now, that’s an aircraft I’d love to fly around Australia!
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Foxbat Australia – email problems

Foxbat Australia – along with many many others – has been experiencing a complete loss of email service due to the forced migration of our services from our original supplier, Uber Global to TPP Wholesale who’ve taken them over.

At the present time (Saturday 5.00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time) we have been unable to send or receive emails using our @foxbat.com.au addresses and have not been able to do so since the afternoon of Monday 13 November. We have also lost approximately the previous month’s worth of emails from the servers.

The email addresses most affected are:
peter@foxbat.com.au
ido@foxbat.com
info@foxbat.com

If you have sent an email to any of these addresses in the last week and not received a reply, please re-contact us by phone or text – our phone numbers can be found by clicking on this link: Peter & Ido phone numbers

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience you have experienced. However, this has been entirely due to the complete inability of TPP Wholesale (a) to migrate our emails correctly and (b) worse, their utter disinterest in sorting out the mess they have created.

I know we are not alone and many online businesses are suffering far greater hardship than us. Nevertheless, it has been extremely frustrating to try to deal with an organisation – TPP Wholesale – which clearly has so little interest in supporting their customers. If you have any choice in the matter, I’d advise avoiding them like the plague. They really don’t care.

We are and have been taking substantial steps to get our email service back on line – hopefully during the next week. Meanwhile, please contact us by phone or text as above and we will respond quickly.

Thank you for your understanding.

Icon A5 accident

The Icon A5 is probably one of the most hyped aircraft of recent years – a stylish, amphibious  Light Sport Aircraft carrying over US$85 million in investment over the last 10 years or so.

It uses the ubiquitous Rotax 912ULS (100hp) engine in a 2-seat pusher configuration and sports a highly designed automotive style cabin. All in all, it appears to be a beautiful and unusual aircraft – although at US$389,000, there will be a limited number of people who have enough pennies to buy one.

The only problem is that out of a total of 22 delivered aircraft (so far), three have crashed, killing three people, including a couple of senior employees of the Icon company.

Here is a link to a YouTube video which, I think, fairly and in an unemotional way describes the aircraft and the three accidents very well. It also makes some suggestions as to what may be the factors which have contributed to this extraordinarily high accident rate in what is probably one of the most tested new aircraft on the planet.

Click on the photo above or here for the video: Icon A5 accidents

Rotax 912 series oil filter – new service bulletin

Rotax has issued a new mandatory service bulletin covering their oil filters – SB-912-071.

Due to a manufacturing deviation, the sealer gasket on the oil filter may leak, causing possible loss of oil pressure and oil.

If your 912ULS engine number is within the series from S/N 9 569 542 up to S/N 9 569 782 inclusive, or you have service replaced your oil filter since June 2017, you need to check the filter. If it has a green mark in the specified location, the filter is OK. If not, check for leakage and if any is seen, the filter must be replaced immediately. Even if there is no visible leak, the filter must also be replaced immediately on listed engines.

If there is no green mark on the filter, no leakage and the engine is not listed, the filter should be replaced within 25 engine running hours or within 200 days from 01 November 2017, whichever occurs sooner.

Here is a link to the service bulletin which gives full details: SB-912-071
Here is a link to the listed 912UL & 912ULS engines affected: SB-912-071UL

The man who got me started on Foxbats

Back in 2001, I went for my first demo flight in an Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat – piloted by Gordon Faulkner, the then UK agent for the aircraft. I ordered a Foxbat and, when soon after, I told him I was moving to live in Australia he encouraged me to ask the factory if I could represent them in Australia, and gave me good reference. Gordon had lived in Victoria for a few years and had many fond recollections of his flying in Australia.

The factory agreed to appoint me as their dealer in Australia and the rest, as they say, is history.

So I was interested to read this letter about Gordon in the latest issue of the UK’s ‘Microlight Flying’ magazine (click on the picture above – Gordon’s the one on the right – to download a readable copy of ‘The man’s a gent’). It fully matches my own experiences of Gordon, from his considerable help with building my first Foxbat, through to training me to fly it.

Over the years since then, I have lost contact with Gordon. But a big thank you to the man who set me on the road to what has been an exciting and rewarding journey representing the Aeroprakt factory in Australia.

Urgent Rotax safety bulletin

Rotax has issued an urgent and mandatory service bulletin on their 912/914 series engines. It applies to a limited selection of engines built between June 2016 and October 2017 – check your Foxbat/Vixxen 912ULS engine number against the list below to see if you are affected.

(A) from S/N 6 785 971 up to S/N 6 786 198 inclusive
(B) from S/N 6 786 501 up to S/N 6 787 000 inclusive
(C) from S/N 9 569 001 up to S/N 9 569 690 inclusive
(D) from S/N 9 569 693 up to S/N 9 569 702 inclusive
PLUS S/N 9 569 823

In summary
Rotax reports that deviations in the manufacturing process of the valve push-rod assembly may cause partial wear on the rocker arm ball socket. This wear could lead to a rocker arm cracking/fracture which in consequence may lead to a malfunction of the valve train. Possible effects are rough engine running or an unusual engine operating behaviour.

The bulletin requires the removal of the rocker covers of affected engines and an inspection – and if needed, replacement – of the valve pushrods.

In simple terms, if the pushrod ends are a silver-ish colour, they are OK. If they are black they will need to be replaced.

Time frame for completion of the bulletin is:
– either at the next scheduled service
– or if a scheduled service is not due, within the next 25 hours of engine running time
– or if 25 hours running time is not completed, by 30 April 2018 at the latest

Here are links to the Bulletins:
What needs to be done: https://legacy.rotaxowner.com/si_tb_info/serviceb/sb-912-070.pdf
Which engines are affected: https://legacy.rotaxowner.com/si_tb_info/serviceb/sb-912-070ul.pdf

If you believe your engine is affected, please contact Bert Flood Imports, the Australia Rotax engine agent, for more information.
Bert Flood Imports phone number is: 03 9735 5655